Currently, Chipley Redevelopment Agency and Washington County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Maxwell tends to be busy.
Some members of the Chipley City Council said they were open to the possibility of hiring a front-office clerkâ€“possibly part-timeâ€“to greet people at the CRA and Chamber office at 672 5th Street and generally help out.
Discussions about potentially hiring a clerk took place during a City Council workshop on Thursday, Nov. 9. No official decision was made.
â€œMike does a great job with CRA but Mike is one man. Heâ€™s having to do the paperwork, the typing of the minutes, getting all the packets together, going through and looking at all the different buildings,â€ Councilmember Kevin Russell said. â€œIs there not some way that we can work with the TDC, the Chamber, the CRA, and either get him a receptionist that can be down there to just answer small questions or hand packets out to people?â€
People walking into the Chamber/TDC/CRA building may have to stand around and wait if they visit the building and Maxwell is in a meeting, Russell said.
â€œWhen we were doing interviews for the new CRA members, I donâ€™t know how many people we had come and knock on the door because they had a question about something,â€ Russell said. â€œTo me, that just doesnâ€™t look professional when youâ€™re in a meeting and you donâ€™t have a receptionist sitting that can answer â€˜Where can I find this place in town?â€™â€
Talk has been underway in the last two months on â€œtrying to budgetâ€ and â€œbringing additional resources inâ€ for clerical tasks, Mayor Tracy Andrews said.
â€œWeâ€™re hoping we have it resolved but everything takes money,â€ Andrews said. â€œChamberâ€™s doing well. CRA is very active and has its own separate board as well but weâ€™re working on those pieces. Some of those things could easily be, I say, sourced out. For minutes, people do it every day.â€
All the entities mentioned could work together to put in a percentage to pay for help, Russell said.
The state minimum wageâ€“set to increase to $15 an hour in September 2026â€“is also a factor, Andrews said.
â€œWe have to accommodate skill sets. We also went to CareerSourceâ€™s workforce and looked at the programs they have available to bring in some to help with that,â€ Andrews said. â€œThere has to be real stringent needs and situations. We really need someone who can do clerical thingsâ€“answer the phone, give general information. We have to find that person that meets the qualifications and thatâ€™s been a struggle, to find that type of help, as well.â€
Chipley growing bigger and generating more revenue could allow for the changes, Andrews said.
The cost for a clerical person would be $33,600 annually for a full-time position and $16,800 for part-time at 20 hours, factoring in the $15-an-hour rate.
In other news, Maxwell said the recent first-time Blues and Brews Festival was a â€œprofit-making ventureâ€ after being asked for post-event numbers by Councilmember Cheryl Gainer McCall.
â€œNot a great profit. The Chamber actually made a little over $1,800 net after all expenses were made,â€ Maxwell said. â€œWe had a nice turnout of people purchasing the wristbands that day.â€
Andrews said such type events will grow.